The feet, ankles, and heels are made up of dozens of bones, tendons, ligaments, and other structures which are subjected to considerable strain each and every day. It's no wonder foot, ankle, and heel pain are among the most common medical complaints among adults in the U.S. Some of the most common causes of pain in the feet, ankles, and heels include:
Pain and other symptoms in the feet, heels, and ankles tends to occur more commonly among people who are overweight or obese, athletes who place a lot of repeated strain and pressure on their feet, and people whose jobs require long periods of standing. Some conditions such as arthritis and plantar fasciitis tend to become more common with age.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that develops when the plantar fascia, a strong band of connective tissue which spans the bottom of the foot, becomes inflamed and irritated. Pain tends to occur along the bottom of the foot and is worst in the morning and after prolonged periods of sitting. Painful symptoms tend to resolve after the foot is used, but recur after another period of immobility. Plantar fasciitis can be treated with gentle stretching exercises and massage to help relieve inflammation, improve flexibility, and increase strength in the plantar fascia. In some cases, injections of anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed when stretching and massage fail to provide relief.
Bursa are small, fluid-filled sacs near some joints. Sometimes, the sac becomes inflamed, irritated, or compressed. This causes pain when the joint is moved or when weight is placed on the joint. Gentle stretching combined with ice and massage are usually sufficient to relieve pain associated with bursitis and to resolve inflammation and compression issues. Sometimes, custom orthotics may also be prescribed to relieve pressure on the heel.
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